Schema Cache

Some PostgREST features need metadata from the database schema. Getting this metadata requires expensive queries. To avoid repeating this work, PostgREST uses a schema cache.

Feature

Required Metadata

Resource Embedding

Foreign key constraints

Functions

Function signature (parameters, return type, volatility and overloading)

Upserts

Primary keys

Insertions

Primary keys (optional: only if the Location header is requested)

OPTIONS requests

View INSTEAD OF TRIGGERS and primary keys

OpenAPI

Table columns, primary keys and foreign keys

View columns and INSTEAD OF TRIGGERS

Function signature

Stale Schema Cache

One operational problem that comes with a cache is that it can go stale. This can happen for PostgREST when you make changes to the metadata before mentioned. Requests that depend on the metadata will fail.

You can solve this by reloading the cache manually or automatically.

Note

If you are using In-Database Configuration, a schema reload will always reload the configuration as well.

Schema Cache Reloading

To manually reload the cache without restarting the PostgREST server, send a SIGUSR1 signal to the server process.

killall -SIGUSR1 postgrest

For docker you can do:

docker kill -s SIGUSR1 <container>

# or in docker-compose
docker-compose kill -s SIGUSR1 <service>

There’s no downtime when reloading the schema cache. The reloading will happen on a background thread while serving requests.

Reloading with NOTIFY

PostgREST also allows you to reload its schema cache through PostgreSQL NOTIFY.

NOTIFY pgrst, 'reload schema'

This is useful in environments where you can’t send the SIGUSR1 Unix Signal. Like on cloud managed containers or on Windows systems.

The pgrst notification channel is enabled by default. For configuring the channel, see db-channel and db-channel-enabled.

Automatic Schema Cache Reloading

You can do automatic schema cache reloading in a pure SQL way and forget about stale schema cache errors. For this use an event trigger and NOTIFY.

-- Create an event trigger function
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION pgrst_watch() RETURNS event_trigger
  LANGUAGE plpgsql
  AS $$
BEGIN
  NOTIFY pgrst, 'reload schema';
END;
$$;

-- This event trigger will fire after every ddl_command_end event
CREATE EVENT TRIGGER pgrst_watch
  ON ddl_command_end
  EXECUTE PROCEDURE pgrst_watch();

Now, whenever the pgrst_watch trigger fires, PostgREST will auto-reload the schema cache.

To disable auto reloading, drop the trigger.

DROP EVENT TRIGGER pgrst_watch

Finer-Grained Event Trigger

You can refine the previous event trigger to only react to the events relevant to the schema cache. This also prevents unnecessary reloading when creating temporary tables inside functions.

-- watch CREATE and ALTER
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION pgrst_ddl_watch() RETURNS event_trigger AS $$
DECLARE
  cmd record;
BEGIN
  FOR cmd IN SELECT * FROM pg_event_trigger_ddl_commands()
  LOOP
    IF cmd.command_tag IN (
      'CREATE SCHEMA', 'ALTER SCHEMA'
    , 'CREATE TABLE', 'CREATE TABLE AS', 'SELECT INTO', 'ALTER TABLE'
    , 'CREATE FOREIGN TABLE', 'ALTER FOREIGN TABLE'
    , 'CREATE VIEW', 'ALTER VIEW'
    , 'CREATE MATERIALIZED VIEW', 'ALTER MATERIALIZED VIEW'
    , 'CREATE FUNCTION', 'ALTER FUNCTION'
    , 'CREATE TRIGGER'
    , 'CREATE TYPE', 'ALTER TYPE'
    , 'CREATE RULE'
    , 'COMMENT'
    )
    -- don't notify in case of CREATE TEMP table or other objects created on pg_temp
    AND cmd.schema_name is distinct from 'pg_temp'
    THEN
      NOTIFY pgrst, 'reload schema';
    END IF;
  END LOOP;
END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;

-- watch DROP
CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION pgrst_drop_watch() RETURNS event_trigger AS $$
DECLARE
  obj record;
BEGIN
  FOR obj IN SELECT * FROM pg_event_trigger_dropped_objects()
  LOOP
    IF obj.object_type IN (
      'schema'
    , 'table'
    , 'foreign table'
    , 'view'
    , 'materialized view'
    , 'function'
    , 'trigger'
    , 'type'
    , 'rule'
    )
    AND obj.is_temporary IS false -- no pg_temp objects
    THEN
      NOTIFY pgrst, 'reload schema';
    END IF;
  END LOOP;
END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;

CREATE EVENT TRIGGER pgrst_ddl_watch
  ON ddl_command_end
  EXECUTE PROCEDURE pgrst_ddl_watch();

CREATE EVENT TRIGGER pgrst_drop_watch
  ON sql_drop
  EXECUTE PROCEDURE pgrst_drop_watch();